Aren’t we meant to be heading out of winter now? Well, the weather has different ideas with its recent turn towards frosty mornings, biting cold winds and threats of snow. But all of this cold weather does have an effect on your health. Some effects are good, others you might want to avoid, but either way, you should know how the cold weather can affect your health.
The winter sniffles, we all know them. It could be just a sore throat, it could be the flu that knocks you off your feet for two weeks. Both are equally nasty when your ability to breathe freely is restricted. But it isn’t cold weather that causes cold or flu. The precise reason is unknown, but it is almost definitely linked to how our behaviour changes. As the outside gets colder and more unpleasant, we spend more time indoors with less ventilation and air circulation, which can lead to stale and infected air. Especially in the workplace where you can be in close proximity with other people for long periods of time, air-borne diseases can spread like wildfire hence why they are more common in winter.
As the cold sets in, it can get into your joints and make them feel stiff and achy. More so if you are older or already suffer from conditions like arthritis. Again, the precise cause of worse joint pain in winter is unknown but there are lots of theories around it. But the best combatant is to keep your joints active as best you can. Lots of people recommend swimming, as it causes very low stress on the joints and works the entire body – just make sure to dry off properly after to avoid nasty inflictions like hypothermia.
Hypothermia (not to be confused with Hyperthermia where you are too hot) is a problem that can arise after extended periods of time in the cold, made worse when it is hard to stay dry – like winter when it is often wet outside. A drop of 2℃ can trigger the condition in which body functions begin to shut down, which can have ghastly consequences. The best way to avoid this is to stay warm and dry, try not to sit around in wet clothes and make sure you’re layering up to keep your body’s vital organs warm and happy. If you do get cold though, warm up slowly to prevent your body from going into shock.
It’s common knowledge that pavements and roads get slippy as the weather turns colder. And when it’s slippy, you can expect to lose your footing every now and then. And whilst the internet declares these moments as comedy gold, we all know how much it can hurt to lose your footing or slide unknowingly. With a small bruise or scrape being the best case scenario, injuries from slipping on ice can become much more serious. Beyond just watching where you step, it’s always best to wear sturdy footwear when you’re out and about during winter.
Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a common issue that many people face during winter. The short days, long nights and therefore less natural sunlight that accompanies November through to January can have an adverse effect on mental health. Whilst it might not be directly related to being cold, it definitely doesn’t help. If you are concerned about your employees being SAD, we offer a health and well-being service to help your employee’s mental health in check.
So it’s true, that cold weather really can affect your health, but not just in bad ways. There have been studies that suggest cold weather has some benefits. Increased weight loss due to our bodies burning more calories as we keep warm, and it can reduce inflammation from previous injuries as blood is diverted to keep internal organs warmer. But, any illness is bad news for business. If you want to help keep your employee’s healthy throughout the cold months, you might be interested in our health surveillance services, contact us to find out more.
Tell us your name and number below and we'll give you a callback to discuss your requirements.